Award #52: The Long Song

The Long Song: “Exactly the Kind of Unique Idea that Awesome Pittsburgh Likes to Make Possible”

The Long Song has existed in Jennifer Nagle Myers’ sketchbook for years but on May 22, along Penn Avenue from Highland Avenue to Main Street, her idea will spring to life. The Long Song is not just a song, but also a performance, a walk, a scene in a film, and public art – all rolled into one. Jennifer’s “song”  will debut as part of the Pittsburgh Festival of New Music and will stretch over one mile—more than twenty city blocks. Performers sit or stand one block apart and will freely interpret a song Jennifer has given to them. Audience members take part in The Long Song only by walking, slowly riding a bike or skateboard, or being pushed in a wheelchair or stroller. Twenty-one performers create this work—for free–on a public street for anyone to experience.

What appealed most to trustee Lauri Fink was the uniqueness of the idea. “The Long Song is exactly the kind of unique, experimental idea that Awesome Pittsburgh likes to make possible. I liked that it would be the debut of a brand new performance work for public space – creative and interesting. I’ll be a participant rather than a casual observer. I look forward to being more than a spectator.”

Artist and Director Jennifer Nagle Myers is a New York City native based in Pittsburgh. Her work moves between private and public space by activating both as sites for creativity and production. She enthusiastically offers her perspective of this project: “I’m excited to bring a type of brand new performance work for public space, highlighting creativity and providing interesting performance art to the region and for the people who live here. It is an unexpected experience that one can happen upon by chance. Participants can experience public art in a most active and ephemeral and spirited way.” Jennifer is using the grant to help compensate the performers.
The Long Song is part of a series of site-specific performances for public spaces that Jennifer plans to direct into short films. The Festival runs through the month of May, and includes outdoor and theater events featuring new music artists of local, national, and international stature. Jennifer is partnering with Boom Concepts, who is curating the entire 5100 block of Penn Avenue with rap artists from their roster.